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The following is Part Two of Four of the earlier article!!

Health Risk Factors and Prevention

80% of all strokes are preventable. Several risk factors have been identified that contribute to stroke risk. 

Some of these risk factors are modifiable such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity while others cannot be controlled including one’s age, gender, and race. 

Identifying and understanding one’s personal risk of stroke and taking action to reduce stroke risk by changing or treating modifiable risk factors is important in preventing recurrent strokes.

Effects of stroke

A stroke can affect a person in many ways. Several different body systems are often altered following a stroke resulting in a range of complications for the affected individual. 

These may range from mild impairment from which the individual may fully recover to total and complete disability requiring 24-hour skilled nursing care. 

Some of the more common complications that may occur after a stroke include:

  • Paralysis and loss of muscle movement
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blood clot
  • Difficulty with speech and language
  • Memory loss and difficulty thinking
  • Behavioral and emotional changes
  • Pain
  • Difficulty performing self-care tasks

Paralysis and loss of muscle movement

Paralysis is the lack of ability to move a muscle or group of muscles. It is one of the most common complications that occur after a stroke. 

It is estimated that as many as 9 out of 10 individuals who suffer a stroke will have some degree of paralysis resulting in the loss of ability to move one’s muscles and/or limbs.

If a person suffers paralysis, it usually occurs on one side of the body and is called hemiplegia. If paralysis does not occur, a person may experience muscle weakness when trying to move limbs or parts of their body which is called hemiparesis.

Rehabilitation following a stroke commonly includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy in order to help the affected individual regain some muscle control and strength as well as the ability to communicate again. 

The effectiveness of rehabilitation depends on a number of factors particularly the severity of the brain injury resulting from the stroke. 

Other pre-existing health conditions that an individual has prior to a stroke may also play a significant role in one’s ability to recover from a stroke.

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